Pistons handle banged-up Rockets, who lose McGrady, Yao to injuries

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Houston Rockets were running on fumes Sunday night, then lost their two best players while playing the NBA's hottest team.

The result wasn't a surprise.

Richard Hamilton scored 17 points and Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace added double-doubles, helping the Detroit Pistons beat the shorthanded Rockets 94-82.

Detroit (20-7) has won five straight and 12 of 14, and joins Boston as the only teams with 20 victories. Houston has lost four of its last five.

"Our defense is getting to be extremely solid," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We turned it up in the third quarter. We've been doing that a lot lately."

The Rockets were playing their fourth game since Tuesday, and only arrived in Detroit 15 hours before the 6 p.m. start.

"You have to take this game with a grain of salt," said Detroit native Shane Battier. "This was our fourth game in five nights in four different cities. Obviously, we would like to play better, but Detroit took care of business."

To make matters worse for the Rockets, Tracy McGrady didn't come out for the second half after aggravating a sore knee, and Yao Ming sat out the last 15 minutes after needing four stitches to close a facial cut.

Rockets coach Rick Adelman said McGrady aggravated an ongoing knee problem on a dunk late in the second quarter. He missed Wednesday's loss, but played 30 minutes against Chicago on Friday.

"He was moving around pretty well at the beginning of the game, but after that dunk, he started limping again," Adelman said. "You have to be concerned at this point. We'll have to look at it when we get back to Houston."

McDyess finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds -- his fifth straight game with at least 10 rebounds -- and Wallace had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

"We saw Tracy limping, and we tried to turn up the offense and the defense," McDyess said. "When he left the game, we really turned it on."

Luis Scola led Houston with 18 points. McGrady scored 14 points in limited action, while Yao had 12 on 4-for-13 shooting against McDyess's defense.

"I guess with four games in five nights, you're going to be frustrated when your shots aren't going down," McDyess said. "He was frustrated, and that worked to our advantage."

Wallace hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute of the first quarter, including one at the buzzer, to put the Pistons up 25-22. He finished the half with 14 points, helping Detroit to a 51-44 lead.

With McGrady and Yao sidelined in the third, McDyess and Hamilton took over the game. The pair combined for 21 points in the period, helping Detroit build a 78-60 lead.

"We stayed close for a half, but they really took over in the third," Adelman said. "We didn't have any energy -- we needed to push the ball, and we were walking it up the court."

The Pistons led by 20 early in the fourth quarter, and Houston never threatened to get back into the game.

Game notes
Steve Francis missed his second consecutive game with flu-like symptoms. ... Yao appeared to sustain his cut in a collision with teammate Luther Head. He returned to the bench during the fourth quarter, but never re-entered the game. ... Rodney Stuckey didn't score in 12 minutes, two nights after making his NBA debut. The 15th pick in June, Stuckey missed the first 25 games with a broken hand. ... Saunders picked up a technical for arguing a call, as did Houston's Bonzi Wells and Dikembe Mutombo.